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Judge/executive tells jury about son's final days

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Trial for Adrian Benton started May 16

By Jennifer Hewlett

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The Lexington Herald-Leader

Courtroom spectators sobbed as Marion County Judge-Executive John G. Mattingly Jr. described in Fayette Circuit Court on Monday the final 47 days of his 23-year-old son's life.

John Graves Mattingly III had been shot in the head after robbers invaded his home on Wilson Street on May 25, 2006. He never regained consciousness and died July 10, 2006, Mattingly Jr. said.

Just after the shooting, a doctor told the father that he didn't think his son would survive, but then, miraculously, the younger Mattingly began wiggling his thumb at his doctor's command, he said.

"We went from no hope to hope," Mattingly Jr. said. "John had a spirit and a desire to live. ... He and God haggled for a long time."

But eventually pneumonia set in, and there were no more signs that the younger Mattingly was aware of his surroundings. The Mattingly family decided that his respirator should be turned off, the father said.

His son continued to hold on after the life support equipment was removed, until just after a nun came to visit him. She told him that before he went to heaven, he had to forgive those who had hurt him, the father said. Within an hour, John Graves Mattingly III, a University of Kentucky student who seemed to have had an interest in pursuing a career in law, was dead.

Mattingly Jr. was the second witness in the trial of Adrian Lamont Benton, 31, who is accused of murder in the younger Mattingly's death and other crimes.

Benton and Raymond Larry Wright, 29, both were charged with murder after Mattingly's death and were slated to be tried together. Wright plead guilty to murder and two counts of complicity to commit robbery as the jury was being selected. Wright admitted he shot Mattingly, and prosecutors have recommended a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 25 years for Wright. The surprise guilty plea from Wright meant the death penalty no longer was a sentencing option for Benton.

To read more of this story: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/05/16/1742461/marion-judge-executive-take-witness.html#ixzz1MYQIk4BF